Negativity stops at the county line

By Wayne Long | Published Wednesday, June 11, 2014

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I just want make sure we all stop for a second and realize how blessed we really are here in Wise County.

I attended the J.W. Hart bull-riding the other night at the fairgrounds, and it reminded me of just what Wise County is really made of. I witnessed the reason I have spent most of my life here, was able to raise my family, build my business and retire here.

Andrew Rottner of North Texas Bank and a couple of other Wise County boys have done a great job with that bull riding, not only giving thousands to the local United Way, but also building and donating homes to wounded veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

In a time when I’m guessing most folks in Wise County do not agree with the way things are handled by our government, and the Veterans Administration runs through hundreds of millions of dollars, we can still turn around and see folks locally be helped by local people and businesses.

That is the way Wise County has always been, in my mind.

Andrew and them, along with J.W. Hart, have continued to push forward a dream that was Roy Young’s idea in the beginning. Roy was a manager at James Wood Motors, a kid I watched grow up at the Wise County Youth Fair, and a boy we lost too soon. Roy was instrumental in forming the Wise County Youth Fair Buyer’s Group and was always on the front lines to help a good cause.

To see a soldier receive a home, and knowing the dedication local folks put into this, is overwhelming to me. But really, it shouldn’t be – it’s just Wise County.

It seems like every time we read something that comes out of D.C. the negativity can be overwhelming. Sometimes we should just slow down and realize how blessed we are to live in an area that is so saturated with good, honest, hardworking folks who care about one another.

It makes me proud to see a funeral procession and folks pull over to the side of the road and men step out and remove their hats. It makes me proud to see the awesome school spirit at all our county schools. It makes me proud to see my granddaughters and the good folks who help them in their 4-H projects and endeavors.

It makes me proud to witness the way folks pull together when a family has hard times, like the recent car accident where we lost our judge, and the grace that was shown toward her family and the other family that was in that wreck.

It makes me proud to see how folks will stick up for their neighbors. It makes me proud to see Wise County church-house parking lots packed full on Sunday mornings and to go eat after church and see all of the folks who are attending church with their children.

In the ’60s and ’70s, there was a core group of men who helped build up the Wise County Sheriff’s Posse activities. Some of them are still alive. We have always had extremely strong volunteer fire departments here in Wise County, with folks donating countless hours to keep our little towns safe. We are blessed with our own air ambulance and a thriving hospital that very few areas this size have access to. Our medical facilities are the result of endless hours of planning by dedicated men and women. As the old saying goes, “It takes a village.”

I think the way Wise County is today is the way this entire country used to be, and I wish our nation as a whole could heal up and be this way again. Maybe we are “throwbacks” – maybe we just enjoy the simpler things in life and know how to achieve them.

We are far from perfect, but we seem to be a lot closer than the rest of the world. I just hope everybody who is a part of it can realize how truly great Wise County is.

Wayne Long

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